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When should I start to use retinols or retinoids?

Most of my patients who start using retinols for anti-aging effects begin in their thirties or later, as with the more powerful retinoids, but it’s not unusual to suggest that a twenty-year-old who has had lots of sun exposure in her life use a night cream containing retinols or retinoids. And, by the same token, it’s never too late. Women in their fifties and beyond can benefit.

From The Mind-Beauty Connection: 9 Days to Less Stress, Gorgeous Skin, and a Whole New You by Amy Wechsler.

Dr. Cybele Fishman, MD
Dermatologist (Skin Specialist)

Every woman over the age of 30 can ultimately benefit from using retinols or retinoids to help keep their skin looking younger. In this video, dermatologist Cybele Fishman, MD, discusses when you should start using retinols and why.

“Everyone over the age of 35 should be using a retinol or retinoid product,” Linda K. Franks, MD, director of Gramercy Park Dermatology, NYC, told us. Retin-A is the stronger, prescription-only version of retinoids; you’ll find less-potent retinol in over-the-counter creams.

Starting in your 30s, the skin begins to break down more collagen and to produce less. That adds up to an average 2 percent loss of collagen per year. Less collagen means skin that’s more prone to wrinkling, sagging, and uneven skin tone. “Using retinol or Retin-A helps to stimulate collagen synthesis,” says Dr. Franks. “Just as important, it helps decrease the activity of the enzymes that are breaking down collagen.” A little of this ingredient goes a long way.

Apply a very thin layer to skin at night, starting with just two or three nights a week and working up to nightly application as your skin adjusts to it.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.